A 5 day escorted holiday exploring Iceland’s glittering glaciers, snow-tipped mountains, vast volcanic lava fields, pluming hot springs and sparkling plunge waterfalls including the iconic Gullfoss, the Golden Fall. Bathing in the mineral rich geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, walking on black lava beaches skirted with white foam, seeing multi coloured herds of Icelandic horses, the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and of course not forgetting a couple of nights in Reykjavik the city we call ‘Latitude with Attitude’.
Getting the best chance of catching the Northern Lights from the vast unpopulated south of Iceland away from any and all urban light pollution. Searching for them with the help of a local guide and gripper spikes to keep you sure of foot and a torchlight to guide you through the dark. Having the chance to capture the dancing aurora on film for memories that will last a lifetime and an optional valedictory chance to catch them again with an off shore cruise in Reykjavik.
In the heart of the old city on “Ingólfstorg” the main square the Plaza couldn’t be better suited for a New Year’s Eve stay with eateries, drinking holes and nightlife on your doorstep. The Plaza’s glass edifice is unmissable and behind which a complete makeover three years ago provides rooms with a Scandi modern décor marked by contemporary oak furnishings and bright fabrics. TA reviewers consistently sing the praises of both the staff and the breakfast. All our rooms are Superior doubles or twins with their own free WI-FI, TV, WC/shower, hairdryer, tea & coffee making facilities and more.
Owned by Vestmannaey Islands born former premier league footballer Hermann Hreidarsson, the Stracta has 122 Nordic minimalist styled rooms with twin beds, a single chair, a wall of shelving and open hanging space. There are also 16 larger superior rooms with bathrooms featuring wet-room-style showers, immaculate white sheets and jade or moss green throws knitted from local sheep's wool. Helga Sigurbjorndottir, Hermans’s favourite designer, is responsible for the hotel's strikingly modern design, with eight single-storey accommodation fingers in white and grey corrugated metal radiating out from a central building. The central part of the hotel includes a reception desk imprinted with the legend "Next Door to Nature", an island bar and the Gardur Restaurant which dishes up buffet breakfasts, packed lunches and dinners. It's here that Valdis Braadottir, a young chef who made her name in the Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, masterminds top notch meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.
Fly direct to Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport, transfer to the city Centre and check in at the Hotel Plaza. Evening at leisure.
After breakfast in your hotel meet your guide for a tour of the city’s highlight attractions including Perlan (the Pearl) the most dramatic clutch of water tanks in the world, and Hallgrimskirka, the city’s Lutheran parish church echoing basalt lava flows. Then leave the city for the Reykjanes Peninsula with its hot springs, dramatic basalt mountains and coastline of vertiginous bird cliffs dotted with light houses and fishing villages. Towards the end of the day soak off in the turquoise warm mineral waters of the Blue Lagoon before the drive to Hella and the Stracta Hotel where you stay for two nights. After dinner (payable locally) your guide will give a short talk on the Northern Lights before you venture outside for some watchful waiting
After breakfast today’s drive takes you through meadow-land along the south coast and beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier under which its active volcano spectacularly erupted in 2010 with an ash plume. En route you stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall which plunges from the mountain which has a trail behind it which you can walk behind for dramatic views. Continue to Reynisfjara by Vík with its dramatic basalt columns and black sand beaches highlighted by the white surf. After a pit stop for lunch you’ll visit Skógafoss a plunge waterfall alongside a folk museum with turf roofed houses and an outstanding collection of period artifacts. Return to Hella for a reprise of the night before and hopefully what will be a second chance to catch the Aurora in all her swirling, evanescent grandeur.
Leave Hella to follow the route known as the Golden Circle. Start with a visit to a stables where you’ll see and hear about the Icelandic horse, such as their many colours including chestnut, dun, bay, black, gray, palomino, pinto and roan and their extra gaits most notably the tolt. Afterwards continue to the Geyser area where Strokkur spouts 40m high every 5 to 10 minutes alongside steaming fumaroles, hot springs and mud pools and Gullfoss, the ‘golden falls’, where the glacial river Hvítá plummets 32 meters before torrenting down a large gorge between the Mid Atlantic Ridge’s tectonic plates. Carry on slowly through the Þingvellir valley and into Reykjavik for your final night.
Take breakfast in your hotel before transferring to Keflavik for your return flight to the UK.
Return scheduled flight(s) from the UK to Iceland
All passenger service charges and airport departure taxes
Complimentary beverages & Pay on Board food service
Carriage of luggage (1pc Cabin & 1pc Checked)
Return airport/hotel transfers Hotel accommodation as per itinerary
Lodgings in twin rooms with private WC/Shower
4 Buffet breakfasts
Escorted travel from AM on Day2 to PM on Day4
Services of local English speaking guide throughout escorted travel
Entrance to the Blue Lagoon including towel hire
Northern Lights programme on 2 evenings combining lectures, presentations, film and guided searches
Use of winter explorer equipment: non-slip snow & ice grippers spikes for shoes and flash light
Tuesdays & Thursdays October 4th - April 13th London Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Birmingham & Edinburgh ( departure aresubject to flight schedule/certain airport departures may involve extra nights and consequent supplements)
Guide prices are in part based on our mid-level contract air fares which are veriable in real time unlike our ground supplier contract costs which are generally fixed. We don’t do fancy lead in prices and the time you confirm your booking always use the lowest air fare available. This may mean the confirmed price of your holiday being slightly less or more than the guide price in which case a proportionate reduction-supplement will apply. Carpe Diem = the earlier you book the better, especially for public & school holidays.